Las Vegas Sun

January 23, 2018

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Neighbor mistaken as burglar is killed

A southeast Las Vegas homeowner was not expected to face charges after fatally shooting a mentally ill neighbor who broke into his house early this morning, Metro Police said.

The incident unfolded about 1:30 a.m. in the 5300 block of Modena Drive, near Hacienda Avenue and Pecos Road, when a couple awoke to a loud crashing noise, Sgt. Mike Thompson of Metro's homicide section said.

The male homeowner grabbed a handgun and told his wife to call 911. As the man stepped out of his bedroom he was attacked in the hallway, he told police.

They got into a "violent struggle," Thompson said, and the homeowner received facial injuries. Fearing for his life, he shot the intruder, the sergeant said.

When patrol officers arrived, the homeowner appeared to be restraining the intruder, a man in his 50s who lived in the neighborhood and who police said had a history of mental illness. But after handcuffing the intruder, police determined he was dead and notified homicide detectives.

The names of the dead man and the man who shot him had not been released this morning.

Thompson said the dead man had not taken his prescription medication for three weeks and had been acting violently.

About a week ago the man allegedly smashed his satellite dish with a baseball bat and shot his television on Thursday. Police were not called to respond to either of these incidents.

The homeowner was not arrested because he feared his life and his wife's life were in danger, Thompson said. However, he said, the investigative report will be reviewed by the Clark County district attorney's office.

Prior to the shooting the intruder had been wandering the neighborhood trying to open doors, police said.

Frank Granich, whose house on Brittlewood Avenue at Modena Lane faces the home where the shooting occurred, said the intruder tried to get into his next-door neighbor's home, but they have steel front door. That neighbor declined to comment.

"Sure, it concerns me," he said. "There's a wash right behind my house and someone could have climbed over my wall."

But, he said, his two dogs -- who were barking inside the house as Granich stood in his driveway -- would likely alert him if someone broke into his house.